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Islamic Culture

The Truth behind ‘Arabisation’ Of Pakistani Culture
Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

‘Arabisation’ not only flies in the face of the more liberal and fluid cultural practices that have prevailed in this region since antiquity, but also more damningly is the primary impetus behind the militant Jihadi upsurge. I largely agree with this perspective, although such general hypotheses necessarily oversimplify social reality....

Timbuktu Libraries in Exile
Community – Seattle, Washington, United States

In 2012, under threat from fundamentalist rebels, a team of archivists, librarians, and couriers evacuated an irreplaceable trove of manuscripts from Timbuktu at great personal risk. The manuscripts have been saved from immediate destruction, but the danger is not over. A massive archival effort is needed to protect this immense global heritage from loss....

 

The Islamisation of a Culture
Rana Allam

I do not want to imagine what kind of culture this minister will enforce in our cinemas, books, music, arts and cultural centres! These, along with their censorship committee, are under the leadership of the Islamist Alaa Abdel Aziz. But will they be able to censor Egyptian youth?...

 
Connecting Minds — Creating the Future
Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Connecting Minds — Creating the Future
Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

More than 1,200 years ago, while Europe was in its Dark Ages, the Muslim world was ruled by a dynasty of Islamic leaders who embraced free thought and creativity from all corners of the globe. Never before had history witnessed such cultural openness and symbiosis as during the reign of the Abbasid Caliphs. They built the world’s first university, named it Bayt Al Hikma (House of Wisdom) and filled its library with the finest cultural, scientific and literary creations known to mankind....

 

Muslim women do need liberating — not from Islam — from their indigenous cultural practices, often conflated with Islam. Muslims must not be reticent; they need to bear the responsibility for the liberation of Muslim women and ensure that they are not deprived of the rights granted to them by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) more than 1,400 years ago....

Child Marriage in Islam: A Myth?
Dr Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad

In Islam, this is the true position of a girl achieving puberty or the age of proper understanding when it comes to marriage. The religion basically prescribes that a child ceases to be a minor upon her first menstruation, regardless of age. Once approached with a marriage proposal, she has the option to accept or reject it. Her consent is a necessary prerequisite for a valid marital contract. Her guardian enjoys no liberty to force her to accept any proposal if she is unwilling....

At least, this was the case until the new religious leaders decided to redefine what Egypt's national culture is. The political victory of the Salafist movements and the Muslim Brotherhood after the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak reawakened the Salafists' desire for a cultural revolution that would match their views. The question of whether dance - and ballet, in particular - is permissible from a religious perspective is not a new issue....

 

Filmistan: Here and There
Waseem Altaf

Indian films are screened in more than 90 countries of the world whereas Pakistani films have almost no access to international market. While there are dozens of cinema houses in Delhi, Islamabad is the only capital city in the world where there is not even one single cinema hall. At present most of our film studios are in ruins and a sizable number of cinema houses lay demolished. Today Indian films are tough contenders for International film awards and.....

They scorched the stages of Algeria and Tunis, in Casablanca and Baghdad, and also in Berlin and Paris. With bobbed hair − a daring style for the time − a thin cigarette in a holder between their fingers, they were among the leaders of the musical and cultural scene in their countries and even became international stars. They are the great Jewish female musicians and singers who were active in North Africa and the Middle East in the mid-20th century...

 

Ignoring the Stereotypes of Expats, Saudis
Sabria S. Jawhar

The Saudi pushed aside women to retrieve his bags from the belt, and then demanded loudly that the porter come immediately. For many foreigners, it was probably their first impression of Saudi Arabia as they entered the country. In another instance, my husband recalled waiting to make a transaction at a Western Union office when a Saudi woman entered the office full of expats, grabbed her maid by the hair and pulled her out of line and literally threw her into the car....

 

“We, the students of Dacca University, who initiated the language movement in East Pakistan three years ago (and) who are now more determined than ever to secure for Bangla the status of state language of Pakistan, will take this opportunity, while you are assembled at Karachi, to press once more our legitimate claim . . . We refuse to believe that any language under heaven can be Islamic or Christian or heathen....

In ancient Egypt only high priests and anointed pharaohs were allowed into the temple precincts. The common folk followed their own religious practices, based on what they heard went on behind the temple, inside the temple walls, together with the knowledge that they were allowed or expected to acquire....

 

Ghalib's Poetry Reflects the Spirit behind Free and Open Source Software (SOFF) Movement
Mirza Ghalib

Open source programme creators cater to the highest standards and give away their work for free, much like Ghalib who wrote not just for money but the discerning reader Mirza Ghalib, the great poet of 19th century Delhi and one of the greatest poets in history, would have liked the idea of Open Source software. ....

As the conflict in Mali intensifies, it is not just the country’s traditional mausoleums and ancient manuscript collections that may be under threat of loss or destruction. The publication of a further appeal for the protection of Mali’s cultural heritage by UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, on 14 January has drawn renewed attention to the threat that the armed conflict in the country now represents for its cultural heritage.....

 

Celebrations of the Prophet’s Muhammad’s birthday are purely cultural for most – the holiday is not Islamic per se. The holiday is contested by some as being “un-Islamic” since orthodox religious establishments do not recognise the holiday religiously and say Islam does not require celebrations of any kind on the Prophet’s birthday, unlike the Eid holidays. Nevertheless, in Egypt, the celebrations are usually colourful and sometimes garish....

Thoufeek Zakriya is an Indian Muslim from the city of Cochin who does calligraphy in a number of languages, including Arabic, Samaritan, Syriac and Sanskrit. More interestingly, he is a Muslim who does masterful Hebrew calligraphy. While studying in madrasa, he learned that the Jewish people were considered by Islam to be ahl al-kitab (“People of the Book”), which sparked a curiosity in him to learn more about this religious community.

 

In some Islamic nations, polygyny is relatively common, while in others, including Turkey, Tunisia, and Bosnia and Herzegovinia, the practice is outright illegal. Even in large Muslim nations that allow it, such as Indonesia, the practice is increasingly unpopular. Non-Muslims dealing with Islamic communities should take caution against making assumptions, letting individual Muslims, their families and communities speak for themselves.

 

The Bad Girl of Urdu Literature - Part II
Rakhshanda Jalil
In her play Aurat, Rashid Jahan turned the image of the suffering woman on its head and made her a votary of progress. Fatima, a childless woman, is married to Atiq, a maulvi who is bent upon marrying again, ostensibly to beget an heir but actually to get a younger wife, the daughter of a 'devotee' who will also be more pliable. For all his ostentatious piety and dispensing of charms and amulets to the needy, Atiq is a wily, greedy, typically chauvinistic man who does not think twice about cursing and beating his wife when she questions his authority and wisdom.

 

The Bad Girl of Urdu Literature
Rakhshanda Jalil

Angarey contained five short stories by Sajjad Zaheer, two by Ahmad Ali, one by Mahmuduzzaafar, one short story and a play by Rashid Jahan. Given the provocative title and the deliberate defiance of existing literary norms by the four young writers, the book unleashed a storm of controversies and marked a turning point in the history of Urdu literature. Critics panned it for its crudeness and immaturity. Religious leaders expressed outrage and outright condemnation, some maulvis went so far as to issue fatwas (decrees) against the book and its authors.

 
Cairo: Beyond the Pyramids
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Cairo:  Beyond the Pyramids
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Three days later, when the conference gave over, I shifted to a poky little room at my own expense, which I shared with an army of cockroaches and which fitted my modest budget. It was located in the maze of narrow lanes in Cairo’s Old City Deep into the confusing nest of lanes in the vicinity is the Tent Makers’ Bazaar, on Al-Muiz Street, which must not be missed, where, in dozens of little stalls, men churn out leather tents, boots, felt caps, and patchwork embroidery depicting Pharaonic themes and scenes from daily Egyptian life.....

 

“The poets, who talk only about violence, bombs, junky lovers and vulgarity, do it for short-lived fame. They are not poets indeed,” opines Mr Laiq while referring to some poets, who write such songs for Pashto CD dramas and movies that are sold like hot cakes in the local market. A song can’t be termed popular if it has no lyrical message and just appeals to few persons....

 

There are many visible signs of creeping Wahabism in India. Javed Anand of Muslims for Secular Democracy says that one obvious sign is the transition of the Muslim greeting from Khuda Hafiz to Allah Hafiz. "Khuda Hafiz was the more accepted form of greeting among Muslims in India. But in the past two decades or so, ever since Indian Muslims began going to Saudi for jobs, Allah Hafiz has become the popular form," says Anand. "This is the subtle assault of an alien culture. Muslims working in Saudi not only send handsome remittances but also bring in Wahabi influences."....

The deal is, I donate $200 a month, which in turn will provide me an annual tax reduction by 60%. Not a bad deal considering, that could amount a saving of as much as $1000 a year. Satisfied with having done a great deal, I was wondering why I haven't spoken to him before. About a month later, the news broke out regarding an investigation and charges against a senior member of this particular foundation for misusing donation fund, amounting to a few million....

 

Islam Is About Real Love
Nazia Parveen

Then, four weeks ago, she completed the ‘revert’ process. She said: ‘I underwent the ‘Shahadah’ ceremony of conversion to Islam by repeating a declaration of faith in front of the Imam at my local multi-faith centre. ‘I had several Muslim sisters with me and they bought me a hijab and Islamic books to celebrate. It was wonderful.’  But she admits that her friends have been shocked at her conversion to a religion which is often seen as being oppressive towards women....

Taliban:  Main Fear Is Not Drones but Educated Girls
Mohammed Hanif

Not educating girls is not the only myth about Pashtuns: Pashtun mothers produce sons so that they can send them to war; fathers will shoot their daughters if a stranger sees their faces. Of course, as the myth goes, they also don't want to send their daughters to schools. And why do they need to send their sons to school anyway, if they are born soldiers in an eternal jihad? But there was no evidence of any such Pashtun culture in the Swat valley I had visited the day before our conversation....

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  • Dear Sultan Shahin Saheb,   As-Salaam Alay-Kum   At long last, you must reflect upon the impact of “Ghetto Thinking,” which has been lingering on with certain commentators on the ...
    ( By Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia )
  • Dear Secular Logic, Frankly I have not followed the exchange of views between you and others, though cursorily looked at some of them. What really pleased ...
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  • Dear Rafiq Lodhia Sahab,Yours comment under "Ghetto Thinking" in which you have quoted comments from three commentators seem to have caused you profound distress ...
    ( By muhammad yunus )
  • Discussion Thread: GHETTO THINKING OF THE MUSLIMS IS APPALLING   Dated: October 23, 2014   To Everyone participating in New Age Islam forum.   Ladies & Gentlemen,   As-Salaam Alay-Kum   Candidly speaking, I ...
    ( By Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia )
  • Convent educated secular doesn't mean that you have got licence to worship stones believing those as God and thus remain very much like those ...
    ( By sadaf )
  • Bahut hi shandar bat btai apne ki Jume(sukrvar)ka din ek special din hota h. June ke din gusl karna ,khusbu lagana , achhe kapde ...
    ( By mohd Sarfraz )
  • "The 72 Signs of Doomsday" . . . All bogus! One more reason why we should pay no attention to the Hadiths.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • "In many Muslim communities, gender segregation is defended as preserving value and respect for women. But in reality, the divide continuously promotes a larger ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • "De-radicalising Islamic societies, which have been either coerced or brainwashed into conforming with an intolerant, insecure and hate-filled interpretation of the faith, is necessary ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • "De-radicalising Islamic societies, which have been either coerced or brainwashed into conforming with an intolerant, insecure and hate-filled interpretation of the faith, is necessary ...
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  • Good article! Brief but poignant.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • 3,000 madrasas affiliated to Darul Uloom shun govt financial aid   By Mohd Faisal Fareed | Lucknow | Published March 26, 2015 2:29 am   Darul Uloom says not in favour ...
    ( By Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia )
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  • Secular Logic,Avoid paraphrasing what I said. If you want to discuss anything I said, quote my exact words and better in the same thread ...
    ( By Observer )
  • I don't endorse these or any other points. I merely see that all the signs of Kheyamat as predicted by the prophet have almost ...
    ( By Ekhlaq Ahmad )
  • Secular Logic,It is a truism that you can prove anything by ignoring half the data. Therefore, by choosing the verses you wish to ignore, ...
    ( By Observer )
  • Mr Observer, I have to make references to you when I feel that Mr Shahin, in his most admirable quest to seek moderation in the ...
    ( By secularlogic )
  • The 72 Signs of Doomsday The Prophet Muhammad (Salallah u Alaihi Wassallam) foretold 72 signs that would appear near Doomsday: 1. People will leave prayer 2. ...
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  • Dear Ekhlaq Ahmad - 3/27/2015 3:48:41 AMMay i request you to post your comments on following points?42. Women will trade along with men43. ...
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  • Rational and Secular Logic,Hold me to what I say in:What Does It Mean To Be A Literalist And A Fundamentalist?against any of my articles ...
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  • Dear Ekhlaq Ahmad - 3/27/2015 3:48:41 AM"Dear" if an apostate can call an imanwala. I felt that most condemnable person in Islam is ...
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  • Secular Logic,You may ask your questions in the 4th part of the article " the story of the  prophetic mission of Muhammad (pbuh)"And stop ...
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  • "Half the Muslims of the world are telling us that the Quran must not be taken literally; the other half says it must be ...
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    ( By Observer )
  • Correction: almost every prediction of the Prophet has come true. I fervently hope Rational Yunus Saheb comes back to Islam. Gharwapsi please. Kheyamat is clearly ...
    ( By Ekhlaq Ahmad )
  • Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi Saheb, you will render a great service to Islam and Muslims by giving the contexts and current status and meaning of ...
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  • The signs of Kheyamat seem to show that Judgement Day is indeed close. Time Rational embraced Islam. May Allah set save him from dying ...
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  • Dear, commentators, I don't see any point on harping on our preconceived notions of hadiths being credibile or unauthenticated. What can be fruitful is ...
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  • Mr Observer, you have duly fulfilled your mandatory religious obligation of humiliating a critic and imputing motives to why a person may hold the ...
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  • Observer - 3/27/2015 12:34:49 AMwhat can i do or what you can do is not the subject of discussion. The nature of the ...
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  • Secular Logic is like that woman who hated Muhammad Ali (the boxer) so much that she attended all his fights."I come to all your ...
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  • To: Respected Muslim Readers @ New Age Islam   Every one of you must read the following sentence:   “Sometimes I ask myself why I come here at all to ...
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  • Rational,When I can read the surahs in chronological order if I wish, why can't you?What makes you think that the Quran should have been ...
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    ( By Observer )
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  • Comment-3 for Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi Sahab This commentary demonstrates that those Ulamas of this day who are bent on venerating the Hadith ...
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  • Mr Shahin,You seem to believe that people who, after reading the Quran and the Hadith, and after being a part of an online Islamic ...
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